At OPSEU/SEFPO we are proud to stand in solidarity with our labour and community allies to commemorate Ontario Injured Workers’ Day. Each year on June 1st we pay tribute to injured workers and their families as we renew our commitment to fight for safer workplaces.
It’s an important time to celebrate the significant health and safety gains we’ve achieved through united action. It’s also a time to come together to demand better, and to remind politicians that workers are still being injured on the job.
It was 38 years ago today when more than 3000 injured workers descended on Queen’s Park. Their presence overwhelmed a legislative committee looking at major changes to Ontario’s workers’ compensation system and forced the committee to conduct a public hearing right on the steps of the legislature.
In honour of Injured Workers’ Day, OPSEU/SEFPO members would normally continue that tradition, by gathering on the front lawn at Queen’s Park. We would gather to show our support for injured workers, and to remind politicians and employers of their duty to protect Ontario’s workers. This year, once again, Injured Workers’ Day is being held online. Those planning to participate can register to attend here: https://injuredworkersonline.org/iwevents/event/june-1st-injured-workers-day/
While much has changed this past year due to COVID-19, one thing never will: our solidarity.
We remain committed to fighting for improved workplace health and safety.
Our front line heroes deserve respect, and so much more. Access to paid sick days is a good start; it’ll help stop the spread of COVID-19, especially in close-contact, crowded and confined workplaces – like factories and warehouses – where the virus has spread like wildfire. But our front-line heroes deserve even better; they deserve better PPE, protection and pay.
And for those who do fall ill, they deserve a much better workers’ compensation system – one where legitimate claims aren’t wrongly denied. In its current form, the WSIB is deeply problematic and unjust. It has become unduly difficult for workers to receive fair compensation and protection, especially during these difficult times.
That’s why our union has created resources to support members affected by COVID-19 in navigating the WSIB process.
And we will continue to fight for a better, safer Ontario, where workers are protected and governments and employers are held accountable for workplace health and safety. It’s our commitment today, and every day.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer